Bake That Sparg!

Gotta love baking up some asparagus, it’s healthy, tasty, and adds some great sabor to your meal! Just like my tempeh, I like to bake my asparagus. However, every now and then I do like to just chop it up and throw it in a hot pan to cook it up, or boil it; just go with whatever strikes you at the time…treat yo self!

For me, most of the time I add asparagus to my power bowls for dinner, but you can definitely add the sparg to a nice salad, perhaps a wrap, or whatever the hell else you feel like adding it to. By baking it, you get that delicious taste and texture of crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. It adds a nice crunch to your meals, and it’s a great way to get your greens! So next time you are at the store, and looking to add some greens into your mix – other than just kale, grab some organic asparagus, and bake that shit right up!

 

Here is how I like to eat my baked asparagus…Power Bowl bang!! Mmmmm Yummy!

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Get amongst it! Give it a try! Eat your veggies!!

Things You Hear As a Vegan

Ohhh man, this video is too good!! It really hits the nail on the head with so many vegan issues, and/or comments you hear as a vegan! But, this is also a great video for all non-plant based people because it really does answer a lot of the questions most people have about a plant based diet, or living a vegan lifestyle. So check it out!

 

Ha, the good old protein question, it never fails…this probably is the most common question. Well since most of us have been taught from an early age that you need milk for strong bones, and that you need to eat meat for protein, it’s no wonder there is a lot of confusion or misunderstanding when people hear that you [the vegan] sustain yourself on plants. Just check out my food post on Power Bowls to see where I get all my plant based protein from.

Then there is the ‘but don’t you miss bacon‘ question ha. Well, for me I was never a fan of bacon, it was just too greasy, and I didn’t like the taste really (shocker I know). But regardless, no I don’t miss bacon, or any meat for that matter. I know this is difficult for any non-plant based person to fully understand, but as a vegan I simply don’t think of meat the same way; the meat eater probably thinks ‘Mmmm yummy, sizzling meat,’ whereas I think ‘Ughhhh yuck sizzling dead animal pieces.’ I mean most people (in western culture) would cringe at the idea of eating bacon made from dog meat right? Well, not sure why you also wouldn’t cringe at the idea of eating bacon meat made form these wonderful creatures (hint: you’ve been conditioned to respond a certain way – but that still doesn’t make it right) – this is your bacon:

Oh, and for those of you that still see these cute little variations of a dog and think ‘Mmmm bacon,’ well perhaps you should think about this:

 

The milk question, ‘what’s so wrong with milk‘? Those good old “Got Milk?” commercials (funded by the dairy industry of course) sure did a good job of misinforming convincing America how important it is that we drink another species (just think about that for a moment) milk in order to grow big and have strong bones. But of course, these commercials and this message is extremely biased because guess what, the dairy industry needs to make sure people keep buying their product. Well, here is what the dairy industry doesn’t want people to know; there are real negative health implications to drinking this stuff! Oh, not to mention how shitty these poor animals get treated, and killed.

The ‘deserted island‘ proposition, ha! I don’t know why people try to come up with totally unrealistic scenarios just to try to poke holes in someones choice to not eat animals. Long story short, I don’t live on a deserted island so I DO have access to plant based alternatives. But if I was in a totally unrealistic scenario as such, then I’d find plants and berries…or like the gal in the video said, I’d eat what the animals eat. Or, just as unrealistically, I would summon Falkor to pick me up and fly me off this deserted island…peace out! Lets just leave it at that.

But ‘plants have feelings too,’ this is probably one of the comments that gets my blood boiling the most, it’s simply an ignorant (truly misinformed) response when someone doesn’t have (literally is uneducated on the subject of plants, and the fact that they don’t have a brain or central nervous system that would give them the ability to feel) anything better to say when confronted with the cold truth that what they are eating was once a lively sentient creature that had emotions, a personality, and feelings (just like your precious dog or cat).

Lastly, the notion of ‘I just couldn’t do it‘ [go vegan]. Well, yeah changing a custom or routine that you’ve known all your life to something new and different isn’t always easy. But who said that going vegan is something that has to happen over night! Hint: no one. So for anyone thinking of trying a plant based diet, just know that it is simply a transition; take your time with it, start small, or start with a vegetarian diet first. The key here, like they said in the video, is education – the more time you spend learning about a plant based diet, it’s health benefits, and moral and environmental implications, the more informed you become. Moreover, you start to realize all the amazing plant based food there is to eat, how to prepare all these plant based dishes, and how easy it is to make plant based meals. Over time your taste buds adjust, your cravings adjust, and what you once thought was impossible (ditching all your meat and dairy), simply becomes routine and normal. Not to mention, you feel great doing it! At the end of the day I don’t pretend that everyone is going to go vegan, I just wish everyone would simply take the time to be more informed (plant based Vs. non-plant based)!

 

After Party Detox

Just had a big weekend out on the town treating yourself? Well, why don’t you treat your liver! Poor thing has to process all those booze you just threw at it…he’s not too happy about it right now. Yes, I live a plant based life, and yes I do indulge in the party every now and then. For some reason some people think that all vegans don’t drink alcohol; well some do, and some don’t. I’ve never been a big drinker (usually got made fun of for being that guy who only drank like 1-2 beers and was lit), but every now and then I do like to go out with friends, have a couple cocktails, and rip up the local dance floor (this is what that looks like); good thing you don’t have to be a good dancer to enjoy the music.

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(Here is a time I drank a beer – Pacifico, and yes it was vegan)

However, NOT all alcohol is actually vegan, believe it or not some alcohol is actually made with animal products such as isinglass, egg whites, and gelatins (Eeeewww). Unfortunately, most liquor, wine, and beer companies don’t label or indicate if their product is actually vegan or not. So for those of you that care (yes us weirdo vegans), here is a list of vegan liquors and beers. And here is some info on vegan wines.

So anyway, after a night of partying, I always like to negate some of the evil I put into my body. In addition to the obvious course of action like drinking plenty of fluids, replacing electrolytes (coconut water, watermelon water), drinking fresh pressed juices containing beetslemon, and ginger, I also like to add in these liver detoxers to the mix:

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  • Spirulina: this is an algae super food; and you can find this in pill or powder form. Personally, I really like the brand Gaia Herbs, they seem to get the best reviews when it comes to purity, safety, and potency.
  • Chlorella: this is another algae, and can also be found in pill or powder form.
  • Liver Cleanse booster, like this one from Gaia Herbs.
  • Liver Health booster, like this one from Herb Pharma. Plus, this company’s tag line starts with “Treat Yourself…” so automatically I’m a fan!

 

And there you have it, in with the good, and out with the bad! Oh, and I should also mention that I don’t normally take supplements, I’m a firm believer that you can get all your vitamins and nutrients from actual real food! This [After Party Detox] is simply a once in a while thing, where I am looking to give my body a specific boost.

Lastly, since we are on the topic of alcohol, I just want to acknowledge that yes this stuff really is poison for our bodies, so be smart, and moderate. Also, in my experience I have found that there is no real magic bullet to cure or prevent a hangover; not even this After Party Detox will heal you of your hangover. But the point here is to give your body some of the best nutrients to help deal with, process, and eliminate this poison. After a certain amount, that acetaldehyde is bound to ruin your next day. The only real cure for a hangover is 1) don’t drink in the first place, 2) don’t age past 25, and 3) time (yep, you’re just gonna have to wait it out dying on your couch for the next 12-24 hrs…put on some Netflix, or the Pandora ‘Spa’ channel to help you through it). Easier said then done, but live and learn people!

Cheers!

 

 

Tempeh Time!

One of my favorite vegan foods is tempeh; I really enjoy the flavor and texture, and all the different foods I can pair it with. For me, this is one of the better vegan meat alternatives out there because it’s not highly processed like other ‘fake vegan meats’ or veggie burgers, and it’s packed with healthy minerals and protein! I like to bake my tempeh with a little bit of avocado oil, and soy sauce (bake at 400-415 degrees for 20 minutes). Then, I throw it in with salads, sandwiches, burritos, wraps, pastas, and of course my wonderful power bowls! Yes, this is a soy based food, but that doesn’t mean you should run away from it, not all soy is created equal. Because tempeh is fermented, it’s actually a superior form of soy for the body to digest. I always buy the organic tempeh, and I usually just buy the Trader Joe’s brand or the LightLife brand from Whole Foods or Jimbo’s.

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Here’s a little tutorial on how I like to bake my tempeh…get amongst it!

Power Bowls

I’m a big fan of Power Bowls (a term I coined myself thank you very much) for dinner mostly, and I call them that because they really are just a big bowl of super healthy antioxidant rich plant based foods: good carbs, power house veggies, plant based protein, and power spices…tastes great, and easy to make! So if you are thinking of transitioning to a plant based diet, or just need some ideas of what the hell to eat other then kale, tofu, and grass, then follow along these easy to make recipes here. [FYI – I pretty much only shop organic, and so probably 95% of what I make is all organic, and yes of course vegan].

Simply start with a grain as your base (yes, these have protein), here are some of my favorites:

  • Farro (I usually get Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Rice (brown or white)
  • Pasta (could be made from rice, wheat, or any other alternative pasta type)
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat

Secret ingredient to cooking/boiling these grains is to use vegetable broth – adds great flavor!

Then, when the grains are almost done cooking, I throw in a variety of what I call power spices (because each spice carries significant health benefits); however, I do recommend getting organic spices! Here are just a few of my favorites:

Next, add in your veggies (yes, believe it or not, these have protein too); here are a few of my favorites, of course this is where you can get creative and add a bunch more:

  • Kale (well of course duh)
  • Tomatoes (also love the heirloom variety)
  • Brocoli or Broccolini
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Peppers
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes

I also like to add in a variety of legumes (these are packed with protein) here are some examples:

  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans, aka Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils

And then sometimes I throw in some vegan meat alternatives (yes, these all have protein as well), here are a few I really like:

Once I have all this stuff done, and cooked, I throw it all in a bowl, and then sometimes I sprinkle on some seeds for added crunch and flavor (you guessed it, these have protein too) – here are a couple of my go-to’s:

And lastly, I like to jazz it up! Here are a couple favorite jazzing ingredients:

I am sure you have noticed my parentheses throughout this post that indicate which food groups contain protein, and as you should have noticed…it’s pretty much every category. Wait, vegan food has protein? I know, mind blowing right?! I did this on purpose to finally inform and dispel that misguided idea that plant based eaters don’t get enough protein, or to finally answer that question every vegetarian or vegans gets asked – “where do you get your protein.” Well, there you have it, this is where I get my protein. Also, keep in mind that this is typically only one meal in my day, this doesn’t count all the other protein I get during the day from what I eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

So what do these magical Power Bowls full of plant based goodness actually look like when it’s all said and done, well here are some examples:

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Base: farro. Power Spices: turmeric, cayenne, pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, and garlic. Veggies: diced celery, crimini mushrooms, asparagus, and tomatoes. Meat Alternatives: baked tempeh (baked on a cookie sheet with a little bit of avocado oil, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos). Jazz: red jalapeño sauce, fresh squeezed lemon juice.

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Base: quinoa. Power Spices: cayenne pepper, pink Himalayan salt, ginger, black pepper, and garlic. Veggies: red bell pepper. Legumes: garbanzo beans. Seeds: pumpkin seeds. Jazz: red pepper hot sauce.

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Base: farro. Power Spices: garlic, turmeric, black pepper, and pink Himalayan salt. Veggies:  chopped red bell pepper, celery, and baked broccolini. Seeds: sunflower seeds. Jazz: organic reduced sodium soy sauce, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

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Base: farro. Power Spices: turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, black pepper, and pink Himalayan salt. Veggies: tomatoes, and broccolini. Legumes: black beans. Seeds: pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. Jazz: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, red jalapeño hot sauce.

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Base: pasta – organic vegetable radiatore. Power Spices: cayenne pepper, pink Himalayan salt, garlic, and black pepper. Veggies: vine tomatoes, and kale. Meat Alternatives: baked tempeh. Jazz: fresh squeezed lemon juice, red pepper hot sauce.

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Base: pasta – organic whole wheat. Power Spices: pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle. Veggies: vine tomatoes, and kale. Meat Alternatives: Organic quarter pound veggie burger – “Original” from Sunshine.  Jazz: fresh squeezed lemon juice.

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Base: farro. Power Spices: turmeric, pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Veggies: kale, and vine tomatoes. Meat Alternatives: baked sweet potato, and a cut up veggie burger. Jazz: sunflower seeds, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

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Base: a mix of quinoa and white rice. Power Spices: pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Veggies: red bell peppers, and kale. Legumes: black beans. Jazz: red pepper hot sauce, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and topped with avocado.

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Base: organic vegetable pasta. Power Spices: pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and garlic. Veggies: steamed broccolini, and vine tomatoes. Jazz: fresh squeezed lemon juice, and chopped cilantro.

 

Bang! And that’s my long winded Power Bowl rant! Again, there are so many ways to get creative with this, and so many other ingredients you could use…possibilities are endless! Give it a try, get in the kitchen and power up with a plant based Power Bowl!

We Are All Earthlings

When you hear plant based folk say they are ‘vegan for the animals,’ you may not be exactly sure what the hell that means. Well, this documentary here titled Earthlings perfectly sums up what that actually means, and why we do it for the animals. Earthlings points the camera directly at the truth most people don’t want to see or know about when it comes to factory farming, and the role animals have been given in our society. Full disclosure, parts of this film are hard to watch, but all that means is that the truth is hard to swallow once you really see and understand what is going on…nonetheless, wouldn’t you rather know the truth!

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Think about this for a minute; lets say we humans finally have the technology for deep space exploration, and consequently we happen to discover another planet that does indeed harbor life. But the life found on the planet is not human like (at least what we consider human), instead it’s these oddly shaped life forms, some large (bigger than us), some small (can fit in your hand), some cute, some ugly, they make noises we can’t understand, they don’t speak our language, but they seem to have mothers, fathers, and siblings just like we do. Furthermore, you can see their emotions in their faces, they have eyes similar to ours, they have what we can tell are ears, mouths, noses, and legs and arms. Wouldn’t this be amazing to encounter and see!? Wouldn’t we just look at them in awe and be like ‘wow how freakin incredible are these creatures!’ Surely we would look at them with fascination, intrigue, and want to learn more about them!

Or would we just be like ‘eh, we don’t understand what they are saying, and they seem dumber then us, so lets just start enslaving them, killing them, skinning them, and eating them.’ Imagine if that really happened! Well, we here on earth have been conditioned to be ok with this, it has simply become part of our culture, customs, upbringing, and a societal norm…but why? Why is this the right way? If you take a step back, and pretend you were that space cadet who made that journey to the newly found planet where this new life was found, you would realize that this is exactly what happened here on earth. We have these amazing creatures on our very own planet that we GET to coexist with, and yet most of us have all become ok with the idea of killing millions of them, torturing them, experimenting on them, and of course eating them.

Wowza….what the hell happened right?! It’s simply a matter of a disconnect; people just don’t make the connection, or choose not to, that these beings [earthlings] are actually incredible sentient creatures – not merely just things, they have feelings!! It was only through conditioning that we humans have been brought to the point of seeing these earthlings as things that are ‘food’ to eat. For most, ignorance really is bliss, they might actually know the truth, but instead of confront the truth and make that connection, they simply  continue on blissfully ignorant chowing down on whatever earthling tastes best to them.

You have been condition to think and see this here as a pet, that you love, and treat with respect:

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You have been conditioned to see this as a thing called a cow, that we milk and eat (Mmm hamburger), that doesn’t have feelings or emotions, and that is merely just food:

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You have been condition to see this as another thing called a pig, and that it is also incapable of any feelings or emotions…your conditioned response is Mmmmm bacon (clearly such a stark difference then a dog, no way these things have any emotions or feelings right?!):

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Understand that these conditioned responses are simply due to what you have been thought; this is what you’ve know all your life, this is how you grew up, this is what your family and friends believe, this is what the mainstream public believes, and so you blindly continue on believing as such. People say, ‘well it’s part of our culture’ or ‘it’s part of their customs and tradition.’ Well, not too long ago here in the US slavery was part of our culture and customs. BUT does that make it OK? Does that make it RIGHT? A resounding HELL NO should be your response!!

Dare to think outside of your conditioned response and MAKE THE CONNECTION!! These creatures aren’t emotionless, feelingless, dumb things that are just commodities. These are all EARTHLINGS!!

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Well, this documentary very effectively helps people make that connection; suspend all what you know for a moment, how you think of animals and food, and simply watch this film as a fellow earthling…dare to make a paradigm shift!

(You can watch this documentary online here, or you can watch it on Youtube, but fair warning the quality of the Youtube version is pretty terrible)

 

 

 

Obscuring The Truth

You may have noticed that in my previous posts I have repeatedly said or posed the question: ‘why or how is it possible that this information [data supporting the evidence that a plant based diet is better for overall health] is not mainstream knowledge (yet)’? ! If a plant based diet is so much better for you, then why isn’t the general medical profession talking more about it – why hasn’t my doctor told me about this?  Well, it comes down to that fact that there just isn’t any money in prescribing a patient sweet potatoes or cranberries, but there sure as hell is plenty of money in prescribing a patient drugs! Furthermore, so much evidence out there is either obscured, or shown in such a way to be favorable [misleading] to the party actually funding the study. This simply means that you (the general public) are not getting the real objective truth!

 

Put another way, most animal based eaters might be thinking, ‘well if this plant based diet stuff was in fact so much better for our health, and could actually prevent and reverse major diseases, then why isn’t my doctor telling me about it?’ Well, the other reason you are not hearing it from your doctor is simply due to a lack of training in nutrition (yes, believe it or not, your average doctor does not know that much about nutrition and using food as medicine). I mean really, how much in depth knowledge about nutrition can you gain in 25 hours or training….? Answer: not much. And thus, doctor’s don’t lead with this information when it comes to consulting their patients.

 

So yeah, that’s why you aren’t hearing more about this food as medicine stuff, and how a plant based diet really is best for overall health. It truly is a systemic problem (see my post about the documentary Plant Pure Nation).